California Gov. Gavin Newsom pledged Monday to stop conducting business with Walgreens after the pharmaceutical retailer said it would not distribute abortion pills by mail in states where attorneys general have threatened legal action.
“California won’t be doing business with @walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk,” the Democratic governor tweeted, linking to a story about the abortion-pill issue.
“We’re done,” he said.
In a Feb. 1 letter, 20 Republican attorneys general warned CVS and Walgreens, the nation’s largest pharmaceutical chains, that they could face legal consequences for selling abortion pills by mail, citing an 150-year-old federal law as well as restrictions in 19 red states.
A Walgreens spokesperson confirmed Friday that the retail chain would not dispense by mail in those states the drug Mifepristone, part of the two-drug regimen approved by the Food and Drug Administration to terminate pregnancies up to 10 weeks’ gestation.
Mr. Newsom did not offer any details on how he would cut ties with Walgreens, but his office said in a subsequent statement that “California is reviewing all relationships between Walgreens and the state.”
“We will not pursue business with companies that cave to right wing bullies pushing their extremist agenda or companies that put politics above the health of women and girls,” the governor’s office told KRON-TV.
Walgreens had 569 locations in California as of last month, or about 6% of its total footprint, trailing only Florida and Texas, according to the data website ScrapeHero.
Mr. Newsom has sought to make California a sanctuary state for abortion access in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in June.
California no longer doing business with Walgreens?
The pharmacy giant donated $220k+ to California lawmakers last election cycle.
It’s largest contribution?
$50,000 to Gov. Newsom’s campaign to stop his recall in 2021.https://t.co/RkLe4VWSLh
— Ashley Zavala (@ZavalaA) March 7, 2023
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California spokesperson Jennifer Wonnacott applauded Mr. Newsom for “continuing to stand strong in his support of abortion access and push back against the anti-abortion movement that will not stop until they ban and criminalize abortion nationwide.”
On the other side was the Concerned Women for America, which encouraged Walgreens to stop selling the abortion pills altogether.
“Gavin Newsom just announced that California won’t be doing business with Walgreens because they are refusing to sell the abortion pill in 20 states,” tweeted the conservative women’s group. “Thank you, @Walgreens. We will shop in your stores and hope you will stop selling the abortion pill in all states.”
What the governor’s decision to cut ties with Walgreens would look like in practice was unclear, as several California news outlets pointed out.
“Newsom has a tendency to seize on hot-button political issues and make attention-grabbing announcements before he has determined how the state will carry out his plan,” the Los Angeles Times said Monday in its report on the governor’s statement.